Crazy Rich Asians meets The Princess Diaries in this irresistible story about Izumi, a Japanese-American girl who discovers her senior year of high school that she’s really a princess of Japan.
Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.
In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.
Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?
Title : Tokyo Ever After
Author : Emiko Jean
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : YA contemporary romance
Publisher : Flatiron Books
Release Date : May 25, 2021
Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 3 star review
Can we just take a minute to appreciate this cover? And maybe a second minute? Because it’s stunning.
As for the book itself, well. While I found the writing-style to be easy going it did sort’ve trick me into think this was well-paced. Which in hindsight.. sometimes yes, sometimes no. But I was mostly convinced of that because at a certain point in the book, considering certain events, I was sure this wasn’t a standalone and we’d have a series to explore more. But from the looks of it, and considering the ending, this has a distinct one-and-done feel. I could be wrong, of course.
Equally, though it might seem obvious, this does feel like two different books. Likely because it’s two separate and very different worlds colliding. But as much as I enjoyed the immersion into the Japanese side of things I think the American just-another-YA-contemporary side felt more fleshed out. The close knit girlfriends, the single mum, etc, just felt so effortless and fun. The other side had moments of pure delight, don’t get me wrong, but I think more time to explore, ie not a standalone, would’ve knocked this out of the park. Given time to flesh out not only the relationships (the romance was too rushed, that was a true downfall for me) but the characters themselves, too. That said, I did enjoy the dialogue surrounding that struggle to find the right space to be. Izumi isn’t mixed race but she’s brought up in America without any roots; and yet, despite feeling an instant connection to Japan, she is too American. As a white reader I obviously can’t speak to how that impacts other readers who have experienced the same, or how true it read, so please, as always, seek out #ownvoices reviews. But it resonated quite a bit.
If you go in just wanting something to live up to the pitch, Crazy Rich Asians meets The Princess Diaries, I think you’ll be happy. It definitely fits the bill. Criticisms aside I did quite enjoy this, I just wanted more. Also, I thought this was a debut, so I was about to be all “and for a debut it was so strong!”. Delete delete. Not sure either of her backlist offerings are tempting enough to pick up but I would read her again.
** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **